The Cost of Procrastination

babs for bookkeepers libby Apr 08, 2024
the cost of procrastination



I’m not going to lie: I'm ridiculously giddy about covering this topic, because I have a lot to say about the cost of procrastination.

The story starts with me ending up behind on podcast episodes. We’re on Episode 173 now, and after 173 episodes, it can be hard to figure out topics I haven’t already covered or actually will be helpful to you all.

So I did what I love to do when I have “podcaster’s block”: I called in my old friend, ChatGPT!



ChatGPT to the Rescue!

It’s no secret that I love hanging out with ChatGPT. It makes for a great brainstorming tool, and more than that, it’s just fun to have a “conversation” with someone without the pressure of making sure you don’t say the wrong thing.

For this topic, I went to ChatGPT and asked it what I should talk about. It took several rounds of whittling things down, and I did have to do some adjusting, but I ended up asking ChatGPT this question:

“Why do people have a dream and not act on that dream?”

This is a pretty complex question, and I wasn't sure if ChatGPT was going to get it right, but it gave me some pretty great answers. Then I asked it to narrow down the top three. Here’s what it told me:

  •    Fear of failure
  •    Imposter syndrome
  •    Overcoming procrastination

Now, I feel like I've covered perfectionism (not that you can talk about that too much, because it’s so prevalent), and I’ve gone over fear of failure recently as well.

So I chose to discuss procrastination...specifically, the cost of procrastination.


Procrastination is Expensive

The very first thought I had was, “Man…procrastination is so expensive.”

When we talk about the cost of procrastination, it doesn’t just cost us monetarily…but make no mistake, the cost of procrastination does include money.

Now, if you are in a reasonable place of being concerned about money, I get it. I don't dismiss that. I'm not reckless with my money, and if I was low on money, I would be cautious with it too.

The online industry can push people to make reckless financial decisions. I'm not asking you to take your money out of your pocket and put it in mine; I just want to make that clear. But I do want you to have the freedom to look at how expensive not taking action on something is, especially if that action is something that will bring you profit.

When you know something is the right thing for you, you have the resources to invest in it, and it will bring you an ROI, but you're afraid to spend the money it takes to get into it in initially…you are actually costing yourself more money in the long run.

That’s not the only cost of procrastination; when you sit on an idea and don’t take action on it, you’re costing yourself time. And time is the one thing that's the most finite in our life.

We have a limited amount of time here on this earth, in this body, in this timeframe. Whatever you believe, that part is true.

You’re not going to get this time back. And nine times out of ten, when you finally start doing that thing you know is right for you, you're going to wish you did it sooner. Regret can be part of the cost of procrastination, too.



What is Procrastination?

Obviously, we all have our own idea of what procrastination is, but I got curious…what does ChatGPT say?

ChatGPT put it this way: “Procrastination is a common obstacle that can hinder progress towards pursuing one's dreams, whether due to perfectionism, overwhelm, or a lack of motivation. Procrastination can prevent individuals from taking the necessary steps to pursue a career in bookkeeping. Offering practical strategies for overcoming procrastination, such as breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps and creating accountability systems, can help aspiring bookkeepers overcome inertia and make progress towards their goals.”

Now, in my last episode, I offered a way to break down the process into manageable steps. However, I found it fascinating that ChatGPT brought up inertia as part of procrastination.

I knew that word, but to use it that way—"overcome inertia”—felt new to me. That didn’t match up with what I knew inertia to be.

So I went and looked it up out of curiosity, and that's when I started really having fun with this.


The Law of Inertia

Do you guys know what inertia is? If so, you're so smart.  I had to look it up. But here it is:

“Inertia is the tendency of objects in motion to stay in motion, and objects at rest to stay at rest, unless a force causes its speed or direction to change.”

This is one of the fundamental principles in classic physics; it’s described by Isaac Newton in his first law of motion.

So when we talk about inertia as it applies to procrastination, we’re looking at procrastination as a form of stillness, or inaction.

It’s common for an object stuck in a state of inaction to stay in that state of inaction until a force comes upon and moves it.

Maybe that's the state you're in right now: inaction.

The problem is, inaction breeds more inaction. Especially if you're sitting there in your head, trying to plan how to get out of your current state, without actually just standing the fuck up.

You're not at the mercy of inertia. You’re able to decide that you can change things; that force that moves you can be your own thought. It can be your own drive. It can even be this post.

We're not talking about a marble that actually needs something to roll it. We’re talking about you and your action or inaction on the dreams that you have for this life.



You Do Not Have to Stay in Procrastination

So if you are the object stuck in a state of inaction…it's normal. I want to make sure you recognize that it's normal first.

It's okay that you were stuck there for a while. But let me put my hand out and help you up; let me be the one to tell you that you do not have to stay there. You do not have to keep paying the cost of procrastination. All you have to do is have a force lift you up.

So today, I'm that force—I'm reminding you that whether you feel like it or not, you are in control. The cost of procrastination isn’t worth staying safely in your comfort zone.

I know that when you're not where you want to be, that's annoying to hear. I’m sure you have plenty of reasons you can give for why you actually aren’t in control and why the cost of procrastination doesn’t outweigh the cost of taking action.. And listen, that’s valid—I’m sure whatever excuse you're going to come up with sucks. But you do have the choice to take those things and do whatever you need to do to improve your circumstances.

I believe you have a shitload of control. And that means that you have a responsibility to then foster that control into something productive.

At the very least, it’s worth trying—and worth messing up—so you can ultimately get closer to what you want, because you deserve that. You do. You deserve more than paying the cost of procrastination…and I hope this will help you take that first step.



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